Category: Current worldview debate

current events illustrating biblical world view clashes.

“Don’t do this wicked thing”

January 8th Scripture Reading: Genesis 18-20

An ongoing debate and cultural war is going on in our society concerning gay and lesbian rights and gender identification.  From today’s reading, we get insight into how God feels about this sort of activity in a city or country.  He has ordained marriage between a man and a woman.  He made them male and female.  But disobedience to the clear command and purpose of God, always brings consequences.  He is merciful to all who will listen and obey but will judge unrepented sin and rebellion.  Sin’s outcry reaches heaven and God’s ears.  The righteous cry out for deliverance and justice and God responds!

In response to the reports of wickedness that had reached heaven, God sent two angels to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family before judgment fell.  As these angels were visiting with Lot, the men of Sodom came knocking on Lot’s door, demanding to have those visitors (the angels appearing as men) for their own sexual pleasure.  Lot pleaded with them, “Please don’t do this wicked thing.” (Genesis 19:6) But they violently began to break down his door.  The angels intervened, pulled Lot inside, and struck the men outside blind.  They warned Lot to gather his family and leave because God would soon destroy that city.

The saddest note in this story is when Lot tried to warn his son’s-in-law about the coming destruction and they thought he was joking! (Genesis 19:14)  Lot had moved to Sodom with great riches.  He apparently tolerated the wickedness and even failed to help his own daughters find believing mates.  When the angels warned of the coming destruction, he delayed.   As they finally left, his own wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt! Jesus used this as a warning to His disciples and us!  {Luke 17:32)

Are you aware of the warnings from God’s Word?  Are you warning those involved in the “sin of Sodom?”  Are you careful to vote for godly men and women who will listen to God’s Word on this subject? 

“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah–from the Lord out of the heavens.  Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities and also the vegetation in the land.  But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:24-26

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The importance of Godly Judges!

Scripture reading for April 28: 2nd Chronicles 17-20

A dangerous trend in our own land is the appointment of judges who do not just render decisions based on the law, but try to legislate from the bench.  They feel that they can help tailor the laws of the land to meet the needs of more people rather than just interpreting the laws according to their original intent.   Every government needs a moral base of what is right and what is wrong.  God’s law has proven to be the best definition of right and wrong that was ever written down!

In today’s reading, King Jehoshaphat had narrowly escaped death when he unwisely allied himself with King Ahab of Israel.  When he cried out to the Lord, God spared his life.  King Jehoshaphat decided to bring more reform to the people he served.  He appointed judges in each of the fortified cities and gave them strict instructions about how to serve the Lord and His people.  He told them that each decision should be rendered as from the Lord and that the fear of the Lord should be upon them. (2nd Chronicles 19:5-7)  There should be no injustice, partiality, or bribery, for God is righteous!

In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites to administer the Law of the Lord.  He gave them strict orders to uphold the Law of the Lord and to warn the people not to sin against the Lord or his wrath would come upon them.  (2nd Chronicles 19:9-10)  They were to act with courage and if they did well, God would be with them and reward them.

God Himself places all authority.  (Psalm 75:6-7)   God is pleased when that authority rules and enforces His laws.  When the authority violates His laws, consequences follow that bring God’s wrath and judgment.  Our nation is in peril today because of violating God’s laws.  Unrighteous judges have reinterpreted the laws of our land to remove God and His law from the land.  Every time a judge rules, he is ruling for God.  God does not want to be misrepresented!  We as a nation need to take warning from God’s Word about judges and law.  We are in danger of God’s wrath and are already experiencing it.

Take time today to pray for those in authority.  Pray that they will appoint judges who will impartially interpret the laws.  Pray that there will be no bribery, injustice, or partiality.  After you pray, think about ways God gives you to make a difference.  Vote for godly leaders.  Call elected officials and make  your godly beliefs known.  Teach your children God’s Word and law so that they know what He expects!  Discuss with them where our nation violates God’s law so that they can be informed with a Christian world view.  If we don’t pray and take action, we will be overwhelmed with ungodly laws, unrighteous judges, and God’s wrath!

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Rebellion: Today’s “entertainment”!

Scripture reading for March 20th: 1st Samuel 13-15

When we think about witchcraft and the occult, we tend to think about men and women dressed in black, moonless nights, bats, curses, spells, and evil that is ugly.  It usually includes violence, blood and death.  Our modern culture has lots to say about the occult and many television shows and movies that highlight evil are watched by millions.  A popular series of children’s novels, “Harry Potter”, has sold millions and no one thinks much about it other that another form of entertainment.   When we imbibe of this evil, we are stubbornly rebelling against God’s command.  (Leviticus 19:26)

Saul was anointed and empowered to lead the nation.  He was the answer to the people’s cry for a king like the other nations.  But Saul was impatient.  Samuel, the prophet and judge, had told Saul to wait for him to come and sacrifice to the Lord and seek counsel.  Saul waited but grew impatient and decided to offer the sacrifice himself.  It was not his job or place, but he went ahead anyway.  Samuel returned just after Saul completed the offering, and rebuked him by telling him that God was not going to let him continue as king for all time.  (1st Samuel 13:13-14)  So the “good” thing that Saul had done, was not done in obedience to the Lord.  He had impatiently rationalized his action and fell under God’s disfavor. There was no repentance either.

Next, Saul’s son Jonathan acted in courage and faith to attack the Philistines.  He and his armor-bearer scaled a cliff and killed 20 men in a short time.  They had not been around when Saul had made the men swear not to eat anything until the enemy had been defeated.  Jonathan ate some honey to gain energy for the  ensuing fight.  One of the soldiers told Jonathan about the oath of his father, but he had already tasted the honey.  Saul acted impetuously with the vow and then wanted to execute his own son! (Remember Jephthah!)

The final account of Saul’s actions occurs in chapter 15.  Samuel tells Saul to attack the Amalekites and destroy everything as punishment from the Lord for their attacking Israel on their way from Egypt. (400 years earlier!)  Saul obeys–partially!  He kept back the best sheep and goats for sacrifice and let King Agag live.  The Word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” (1st Samuel 15:10-11)  Partial obedience is not obedience!

God hates rebellion and stubbornness!  We can call it entertainment, but God still calls it sin!  Ask the Lord to show you if these sins are evident in your life and allow Jesus to deliver you!  These sins don’t entertain God and should not be entertained in your life or home!  Don’t give God a reason to reject you as his child!  Or worse yet, cause your children be rejected because of this evil!

“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination (witchcraft-KJV)  and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (1st Samuel 15:22-23)

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Instructions for the future!

Scripture Reading for February 26: Deuteronomy 17-20

The passage today is another example of God’s foreknowledge.  In Deuteronomy 17, Moses gives instructions to the Israelites about what will transpire after they enter the promised land.  He said that they would want a king like the other nations around them.  (Deuteronomy 17:14)  We know from history, that is exactly what happened!  God’s Word is always true and is worth listening to!  I believe these passages will help us today.

The first rule of choosing a king, is to appoint one chosen by the Lord Himself!  He must come from his own brothers so he can understand the people and the problems they face.  A foreigner will not have a proper understanding and in the case of Israel, would not understand God’s special dealing with this nation. (Deuteronomy 17:15)  Jesus Christ was God’s chosen ruler to be king over His people!  He is actually king over the universe!  He is one of us, being born of a woman.  He was tempted in all ways like us, yet without sin.  He came from the Father, and knew and willingly did the Father’s will!

Another factor in choosing the proper king had to do with their moral character.  The king was not to gather large numbers of horses or send people to Egypt to get them. This king was not to take a large number of wives, because the wives would lead his heart astray.  Some of these wives might lead the king into idolatry and cause his downfall.  He must not gather large amounts of silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17: 16-17) These things often lead to idolatry and pride and take the king’s focus off of serving the Lord and the people.  Jesus Christ met all these characteristics!  He did not put his trust in military power and certainly did not lead the people to Egypt.  He also did not marry here, but is still betrothed to a Gentile Bride.  He certainly did not gather silver and gold, but was a man of contentment with whatever was provided here.  He owns the universe and is not greedy or idolatrous!

The last instructions for the king was that he was to write for himself a copy of the law taken from priests.  The purpose was that the king would know the law and Word of God and keep and uphold it in his kingdom.  It was to help him with pride and thinking that he was better than his brothers.  It would help him revere God and honor Him alone.(Deuteronomy 17:18-20)  Of course, Jesus Christ perfectly honored His father and kept the law.  He read the law regularly and identified with his brothers in their need by giving Himself for them. The result is a long reign for eternity!

This instruction is good for any who are in authority!  Pride is a constant temptation and so is greed.  Sexual temptations also beset leaders.  Would that we trust the Word of God! Choose Jesus for your king today!

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What about the poor?

Scripture reading for February 25: Deuteronomy 12-16

In many cultures, the poor and needy are viewed as under the judgment of the gods.  These people are despised and live in the worst conditions on the fringes of society.  Children born in the families are destined to live in poverty, sickness, and usually have an early death. India has millions living in the caste system and viewed as nearly untouchable by their peers. The Hindu religion and the teaching of reincarnation and this caste system keeps the bondage in place.

The God of the Bible, creator of heaven and earth, is compassionate and merciful.  When He formed the nation of Israel and delivered them from slavery, He instructed them in the care of those society had looked down upon.  The orphans and widows were singled out for care by the Lord.   (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)  God promised to bless the Israelites for caring for them.  The alien was also to be cared for, because the Israelites were also aliens and strangers in Egypt and could identify with what it felts like to be in a strange culture and on the outside of the economic and political power system.

God said that there should be no poor among His people, however. (Deuteronomy 15:4)  The reason given was that if they fully obeyed the Lord in keeping all His commands, God would so bless them that they would have an abundance to help others.  They would lend only and not borrow. (Deuteronomy 15:6)  They would also rule and not be in servitude. “The rich rule over the poor, the borrower becomes the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs: 22:7)  This is God’s heart desire for His people. (3 John 2)

God seems to contradict Himself later in Deuteronomy 15:11.  He only seems to because here God is telling the Israelites not all will fully obey.  Some will be poor and they will need help.  Those who are fully obeying the Lord are to be generous with the poor.  They are not to be “tight-fisted” or “hard-hearted” towards their poor brothers, but are to be “open-handed” and “freely lend”.  (Deuteronomy 15:7-10)  God even goes so far as to say it is sin to be stingy toward the poor brother!  He is indicating His care for those who are truly needy. God always pays well when we help the poor.  We can’t outgive God!

“A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors God.” (Proverbs 14:31)

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

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The Beautiful Land of Canaan!

Scripture Reading for February 24: Deuteronomy 8-11

In 1995, my son and I went to Israel and Egypt on a three week study tour of the Holy Land plus the route of the Exodus and Egypt.  In Egypt we visited the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx and several museums.  The land of Egypt was primarily desert and dry rocky mountains until we got to the Nile River where the water and irrigation made some green areas and lush groves of tropical plants.  The land was fairly flat and sandy.  Israel, on the other hand was varied in topography and had many different areas of climate and vegetation.  The Jezreel valley was a rich agricultural region with big farms. The vineyard country was terraced and had trees and vines.  The area around the Sea of Galilee was lush and had banana and pineapples growing.  There were herds of cattle and sheep in the Golan Heights.  Shepherds drove their flocks of goats and sheep and camped in tents in the Negev desert.  It was a varied land full of milk (goats and cattle) and honey (bees pollinating vines and flowers).

In our reading today, God describes through Moses in his sermon the land that they are going to.  I thought it was interesting to read Deuteronomy 11:8-12 in light of my own journey to both places. It is a land flowing with milk and honey! (vs.9)   It’s a land of hills and valleys! (vs. 10) God sends the rain of heaven on Israel where in Egypt, by hand and foot, the land had to be irrigated! (vs. 11) In Canaan, God cares for the land and His eyes are upon it to bless His people! (vs.12)

As Marshal and I walked and rode through that land, God’s presence was evident to us.  It is a special land, although it is not remarkable or extraordinary.  God’s presence and His people make it special!  God’s promises to Israel and His love for His people and our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stand as a testimony of God’s faithfulness.  Four thousand years after Abraham, his descendants are still in that land and are taking possession of it yet!  They have defeated armies more numerous and stronger, because God is with them and His Word is still true.  (Deuteronomy 11:23,25)  They are still being gathered from the nations and settling in that land after years of being scattered!  It is a land that God cares for and His eyes are upon it continually!  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and support God’s land and people!  A blessing is on those who bless Israel!  (Genesis 12:3)

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“Hear, O Israel”

Scripture Reading for February 23: Deuteronomy 5-7

“Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your foreheads.  Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

This passage from our reading today is known by faithful Jews as the “Shema”.  This Hebrew word simply means “listen”. The Shema is quoted twice daily by devout Jews around the world reminding them of the importance of a relationship with the one true God.  This passage was quoted by Jesus in part when he was asked which was the greatest commandment.  He answered with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.”  (Matthew 22:37-38)  This ancient word from a sermon of Moses around 1500 years before Christ was foundational in the devotional life of God’s people.  Let’s examine it closer today and seek to apply it to our lives as twenty-first century AD Christians.

First, hearing is important!  God wants us to have ears to hear His voice!  Remember that the nation of Israel did not want to hear God’s voice speaking His commandments.  They had asked Moses to hear for them so they would not die.  Moses was repeating what God had told him.  Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! (Romans 10:17)  God sends His people out to speak His Word to bring faith and obedience and the resulting blessing on His own.

Second, the Lord is one!  There is no other God but God!  He is the creator of heaven and earth.  He is holy and complete in Himself.  He desires the love of His children and loves them infinitely, desiring the best for them.  His love is expressed in his Word and commandments.  When we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we are actively responding to His Word in obedience.  If we love Him, we obey His commands. (John 15:9-11)  His joy will be in us and our life will be full!

The last point to look at in this devotion is the need to impress these commands of the Lord on our children. If these commands are on our hearts, we will pass them on.  The most effective way to pass them on is to live them out and speak about them in the normal flow of life.  Live them out from morning to night.  Make them the focus of all you do because they are on your own heart!  It’s pretty simple really!  What an impact on the next generation!  Are you listening?

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Hoglah, a daughter of Faith!

Scripture reading for February 18: Numbers 26-30

I sometimes teased my daughters that I strongly considered the biblical name “Hoglah” for naming them!  My wife and I raised lots of hogs in our early years so this would fit our past life!  Somehow, they never have thought that was funny!  But in today’s reading, Hoglah is a daughter to be proud of!  She is a pioneer in the “women’s rights” movement, way ahead of her time!

In Numbers 27 we have a record of five daughters of a man by the name of Zelophehad.  This man had died during the march through the desert.  His daughters went before the Tent of Meeting and petitioned Moses for an unusual request.  They wanted to be allowed to inherit the property of their father.  One of their talking points was that their Dad had not been a part of Korah’s rebellion.  He had simply died as a result of his own sins. (Numbers 27:2-3) Up to that time, no ruling had been made and it was tradition that the sons got the inheritance.  These godly daughters felt that was unfair!  They wanted equal rights to an inheritance in the promised land!  (Numbers 27:4-5)  God agreed!

This is a breakthrough for women’s rights and spiritual equality that God has established!  Roles for men and women are defined by God and we must accept those roles.  But some things are open for negotiation.  These women teach us some important lessons.  We must all appeal to the Lord and to His established leadership when we need answers.  We should abide by the decision of leadership.  Some problems in the community of believers must be worked out through prayer and interaction.  God will help us.

Their story continues at the end of Numbers, where another question arises concerning their inheritance of property.  What if they marry outside of their family?  Will that land transfer out of the tribe?  God’s answer was that they must marry within the clan to keep the property!  These godly women responded in obedience and faith and married their cousins. They kept their property and inheritance!  Oh, for daughters like Hoglah!   (Numbers 36:1-12)

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Ancient Snake-bite Remedy!

Scripture Reading for February 18: Numbers 21-15

I hate snakes!  When I was little, Mom often asked me to take lunch and a drink to my Dad who was working out in the field.  This particular day in late June, he was cultivating corn about a half-mile from the house.  I was walking along the path, minding my own business, when I almost stepped on a large bull snake!  In my fear, I threw the water jar and Dad’s lunch at the snake and took off running for the house.  Mom consoled me and then sent me back to retrieve the bottle and lunch.  I complained and grumbled. Thankfully, the snake was long gone!

In our reading today, the Israelites were doing what they did best–grumbling!  As they grumbled against Moses and God, God sent poisonous snakes which bit the complainers and caused death.   (Numbers 21:5) The Israelites then asked Moses to pray for them and confessed their sin. (Numbers 21:7)  God answered Moses as he prayed with some strange instructions. He was to make a bronze serpent and place it on a pole in the camp.  Anyone who was bitten could look at the bronze snake on the pole and he would be healed!  (Numbers 21:8-9)

What can we learn from this ancient story?  The first lesson is that sin causes death!  God has repeated this over and over but His people seem to forget!  Another lesson is that grumbling against leadership isn’t pleasing to God.  When we do, we are actually grumbling against God.  A third lesson is that when sin’s consequences come, we run to our leaders for help and prayer–and God does answer.  We then must have faith to do what God asks in order to be saved or healed!  True faith is obedience to God’s revealed truth.

This story is actually a picture of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus used this story right before the most famous verse in all of Scripture.  The snake that was lifted on the pole is a picture of Jesus Christ crucified.  He was made sin, who knew no sin, that we might be healed from the serpent’s poisonous bite.  If we will look with faith to His finished work on the cross, we will be saved and healed!  God loves His people and wants to save them from the poison of sin’s bite and the consequence of sin–death! (John 3:14-18)  If we refuse the remedy provided by God, then we will die and perish because of our refusal!  This ancient snake-bite remedy turns out to be the current remedy for all mankind!  I am sure grateful that I have looked at Jesus Christ with faith and received the healing from my own sin of grumbling, complaining and rebellion! Have you done the same? (Romans 10:9-10)

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Dressing for Success!

Scripture reading for February 9th: Leviticus 21-23

Today, people seem to want to come to church in the most casual attire possible.  They are very individualistic in their tastes and often want to stand out because of some unusual hair style, color, tattoo or piercing.  Some shave off all their hair and others wear various hair pieces.  Some wear jeans and others dress in suit and tie.  A few years back, almost everyone dressed up for church and put on their most special clothes.  What was it like in Moses day?

According to our reading today, priests had very strict dress and behavior rules.  God was holy and they must be holy too or they might die!  (Leviticus 22:9) For me, this is a good enough reason to pay attention to God’s rules!

In Chapter 21, God warned his priests not to shave their heads, cut the edges of their beards, or cut their bodies. Their appearance was somehow connected with holiness. These men had to present offerings to the Lord each day. The High Priest who had been anointed with the holy oil could not let his hair become unkempt or messed up! He could not touch a dead body, even that of his mother or father! He was under strict rules because of his position and responsibility before God.

The priests could not marry just anyone either. They could only marry a virgin from among their own people. They could not marry a widow or divorced person or anyone engaged in prostitution! The reason given is that this would defile the offspring and make them unfit to serve in the priesthood and handle the holy offerings. (Leviticus 21:7-8, 13-15)

Priests could not serve and handle offerings if they had a skin disease or had been near a dead body. If they did handle the offerings knowingly when they were unclean, they must be cut off from God’s presence and never allowed to offer sacrifices again! God looked at these requirements with great seriousness and did not allow for levity or laxity! (Leviticus 22:1-4)

So, what does this mean for us today in the twenty-first century? Holiness is not determined today by how we dress outwardly. Jesus fulfilled the law. We must be dressed in His righteousness and cleansed by His blood to be clean. However, our dress outwardly often reflects our heart attitude. Many are lax about their approach to God. If they are seeking more to be noticed by others or to express their individuality and right to expression by modifying their bodies or displaying them inappropriately, then beware! Our God is still a holy God and those who approach him must come with humility and holy respect.

Marriage is another area of disreguard in today’s culture. Adultery and fornication are regular practices of people who approach God and say that they love Jesus. Divorce and the breaking of vows made before God is a routine practice even among professing Christians. God does not take this as lightly as we do. He desires holiness and holy offspring! (Leviticus 21:15; Malachi 2:15)

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